Mumbai News : On Monday, the legislators from the opposition parties questioned Shinde’s stand when he placed the bill for revoking the provisions, which he himself brought in 2020 as the then-urban development minister.
The state assembly on Monday cleared a bill allowing direct elections for the president of municipal councils that govern small cities. Chief minister Eknath Shinde brought the amendment bill to replace a decision taken by him as the urban development minister in the previous Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. In March 2020, Shinde had brought a bill revoking the amendment in the bill for direct election in the municipal councils. The original decision was taken by the Fadnavis-led BJP government that had come to power in 2014.
On Monday, the legislators from the opposition parties questioned Shinde’s stand when he placed the bill for revoking the provisions, which he himself brought in 2020 as the then-urban development minister.
Speaker Rahul Narvekar rushed to Shinde’s defence as the opposition MLAs tried to corner him. Shinde maintained that the fresh decision will bring transparency and help in the development of the local bodies.
The Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government allowed direct elections for the president of municipal councils and nagar panchayats. It had also made an amendment in the Maharashtra Municipal Councils, Nagar Parishads, and Industrial Townships Act for its implementation. When the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government came to power, it scrapped the amendment with Shinde as urban development minister.
NCP legislators Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal and Jitendra Awhad questioned the chief minister about what made him change his stance on the matter. “In the same (five-year) term, can a minister contradict his own views? He was the one who brought the proposal for revoking direct elections in urban local bodies. It was approved by the then-state cabinet and subsequently by the state assembly. Today when he has changed sides, he is saying that the previous decision was not right,” Patil said.
The chief minister responded by saying that the decision was of the cabinet and not of the urban development minister alone.
“You were the urban development minister in the last government and you only brought the proposal. What is the reason for this bill,” Awhad asked. Bhujbal too said that the minister from the concerned department brings a proposal to the cabinet and then the cabinet takes a decision following discussion holding Shinde responsible for contradicting his own decision.
Speaker intervened and said that the constitution gives the right to the cabinet to take a decision based on collective principles. “In the parliamentary democracy, the constitution gives the right to the cabinet to work under collective principles. So there is no reason to start a debate over what happened then,” Narvekar said and asked the legislators to debate on the provision.
In his reply to the debate, Shinde said this is not the first time the state government is changing a decision. “We do take such a decision after observing pros and cons. It was not my decision but was a collective decision taken by the MVA government. Even MVA took many decisions and changed many. The last decision was affecting development work. The fresh decision will bring transparency,” the chief minister said.